UPDATED – A Funny Thing Happened…
…on my way to work Tuesday morning.
Only it wasn’t funny then.
Come to think of it, it’s not terribly funny now but you people are soooo demanding I’ll try to make it funny.
Let me preface the following by giving you a little backstory.
When I was one my mother was rear-ended with me in the car. This was pre-car seat days so I hit my head on the dash, causing my first whiplash injury.
Yes, I realize a blow to the head as an infant explains a lot of things about me, but I digress.
At 8, my mom, stepsister and I were rear-ended at a stoplight. The other driver was traveling at an estimated 50 mph at impact. I sustained a pinched nerve in my arm, a fractured lumbar, and my second whiplash injury.
As a teenager, I took it upon myself to care for an ailing stallion quarter horse. As his health improved he rewarded my efforts with a rousing rendition of “Trigger: The Bucking Bronco” one morning. I broke my nose, orbit bone, deeply bruised my lumbar (yes, same side), had road rash on my face and a severe concussion. Oh, yes..and whiplash number three.
All was quiet until I turned 30. One morning, on my way to take two of my kids to school, a driver ran a stop sign just as we were passing the intersection and t-boned the car. The kids were a little bumped and bruised and I had whiplash number four. I also sustained a lower back injury, and the next day was literally crawling around on hands and knees because the pain was so intense I couldn’t walk.
– This was also the first time I experienced intense anger at the incredible stupidity of
some most drivers, and as I raged at the at-fault driver he dropped his keys in the middle of the street and backed away to his car, hands raised in the air. Hell hath no fury like a woman whose children may be injured due to your stupidity, let me tell you –
A year and a half later, on the same street but at a different intersection, I was t-boned again. This time I was alone, and this time the at-fault driver tried to run.
I blocked his retreat with my car and waited for the police to come. When they got there he was less than cooperative and only gave them enough information to get out of there. As a result, there was a huge delay in getting my car fixed and in getting my fifth whiplash and second lower back strain treated.
*helluva backstory so far, right? and..it’s not over…*
Nearly twenty years pass and then one day, on the freeway, a lovely little Saturn Vue developed an irresistible attraction to the rear bumper of my car.
At 60 mph in the pouring rain.
Four complete rotations and one quarter mile later, my car came to a stop on the shoulder of the freeway. I have no idea how, but I didn’t hit anything/one else and no one hit me.
Second trip in an ambulance, strapped to a backboard, and whiplash number six on the books.
By this time my neck was holding together with prayer. An MRI revealed – facet syndrome, arthritis, three ruptured discs (inside, “jelly” gone), and moderate stenosis.
Go look up those terms if you don’t know what they mean, I’ll wait.
:stoops to pet cat and nearly shrieks from pain:
Back? Good, you are, I trust, quite versed in my numerous neck ailments now.
Yes, I had lost some mobility in both arms, but the surgeon said not to do anything about the damage – aside from controlling with pain medication – until I lost too much mobility to function. It’s a delicate operation and since my spinal stenosis means my chord is right *there* it will involve a neurosurgeon, too.
And, so, for the last two years I’d been maintaining status quo.
Until Tuesday morning.
I was completely stopped at a light on the south end of my little town, minding my own business.
BAM!! No, wait..it was more like BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, I’d been hit from behind.
It wasn’t a particular hard hit, he was probably not going over 20 mph, but it was enough to tighten the seat belt (and leave a small bruise), take my breath away and snap my neck in the familiar forward/back motion of classic whiplash.
Holymotherofgawdwhatthehell?! Was my first thought.
I looked up in my rearview mirror and pointed to a parking lot next to us. No need to tie up other commuters, so we pulled in.
This is our conversation:
Me: What happened?
Asshat: I looked down to do my breathalyzer, and when I looked up I hit you.
Me: Breathalyzer? Like inhaler or like drunk?
Asshat: Drunk. But, I’m not drunk.
:waits while the first part of this exchange soaks in:
With me still? Good.
Me: I’m calling the police, don’t you dare try to leave.
Asshat: I’m not. Why do we have to involve the police? Can’t we just exchange information?
Me: (crying from pain as it began to settle over my neck and lower back)NO!
Me: Because I am hurt, that’s why.
Asshat: How is that possible. I barely hit you.
(at this point the dispatcher is on the line and I’m giving her details. Asshat is continuing to argue with me)
Asshat: (backing away from car) I’m going to get my *stuff*?
Me: Stuff? Oh hell no, bring me your keys. Right. Effin’.Now.
(apparently I looked pretty damned intimidating, because he came back with keys in hand)
Asshat: (now standing outside my window, talking to his wife on the phone) Yeah, go on without me…she says her neck is broken. I dunno, I barely tapped her.
Me: Bullshit (and the dispatcher told me not to argue with him)
Me: (to dispatcher) Oh I’m not going to, I’ve got the mother-lover’s keys. (then rolled up my window and locked my door)
Asshat: (louder now, so I could hear him through my closed window) Look, I stopped a safe distance behind you and just took my foot off the brake. I hardly touched you.
Me: (nothing, I ignored him as I saw the cops and ambulance pull up)
Over the next few minutes the paramedics checked me out and not wanting to go to the ER I signed a release and they admonished me to get checked out. I told the gorgeous young man – and really, is it a pre-requisite that all paramedics be just dropdead gorgeous or what? – sadly, this is not my first rodeo and I will get checked out…I was going anyway as I was pretty sure I had bronchitis…and then I coughed and a fresh spasm of pain shot through my neck and back.
Then the police officer came over to me and here is our conversation.
Police: Do you have his keys?
Police: He says you “snatched” them from him.
Me: (chuckling) Right. I’ve not even gotten out of the car yet. He gave me his keys when I demanded them.
Police: Why did you think you should take them?
Me: In-car breathalyzer, protestations of calling y’all and telling me he was getting his *stuff*…two and two in my book.
Police: (grinning) Well, you shouldn’t have done that.
Me: Maybe not, but if he’d of run I’d of chased his ass.
Police: Bad idea.
Me: I didn’t say it was a *good* idea, but I know me.
Police: (chuckling) Yes, and apparently you can be quite intimidating.
Me: Damn straight.
I finally got out of my car and headed to the back to see the damage.
There was none.
I couldn’t see a thing.
The front of Asshat’s car was slightly wrinkled and his license plate looked pretty smashed.
I looked at Asshat and he at me.
Me: Wow. To look at it, you’d never know you hit me.
Asshat: See. That’s what I was saying before.
I finished getting all of the information from the policeman, thanked him and apologized again for scaring the little man, and went home.
I went to see my doctor later in the morning and she confirmed two things – I have bronchitis and whiplash number seven. Lower back is torqued again, too. Orders to stay home a couple of days, load up on the pain meds and a new ‘script for muscle relaxers, later I was finally home…and hurting.
Back home I inspected my car and found a small dent in the bumper, some scratches and a bent tailpipe. It’s almost like Asshat’s car went under mine slightly. Makes sense as his front end was low to the ground and my back end is higher than most cars’ front ends.
I spent two hours on the phone with my insurance company and his, and am going later today to get the car inspected for damage.
I’m in soooo much pain, it’s like a haze in front of me and I’m slogging through one foot at a time.
See, told you it wasn’t a funny story.
And, now I feel like I owe you something…
A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Why the long face?”
I’ll be here all week, or at least until the surplus tank I ordered to use as my personal car gets here.
Really, it’s the only practical solution.
UPDATE: So, on Wednesday I took my car to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier’s *recommended* shop for an eval. When I got into the car that morning I had fully two inches of water in the floorboard of the passenger’s side. We’d had a monsoon blow through the night before. Further inspection revealed that my passenger door is bowed outward, and the right side of my car where the trunk lid meets the side panel is pushed down.
If you know anything about cars and bodies, then you know that *may* mean frame damage…and that’s a death knell for a car this old.
Feck, feck and feck.
Anyway, my suspicions about just how/where the asshat hit me were confirmed by the estimator. He went under the car on the right side, bent the tailpipe, muffler and bumper on that side. And, as I also suspected the impact was well over 20 mph, more like 30 mph.
Hopefully a thorough frame inspection will reveal no damage and the door and trunk lid can be repaired by re-hanging.
I seriously doubt, given my luck, that it’ll be that simple but I’m hoping I’m wrong here.
Feck, feck, feck.